9 Signs You’re Doing Too Much Cardio

Young adult wearing sweats

Written by Craig Ballantyne and Daniel Woodrum, Certified Turbulence Trainers

Think back to the last time you were in one of those big gyms, the kind that has dozens of cardio machines. You probably noticed that all of the elliptical machines were taken. That’s because those are the easiest. Unfortunately, that also means they don’t work. After all, when was the last time you saw someone with a great body using the elliptical? Never, that’s when.

You see all types of funny behaviors in the cardio area. People read magazines or newspapers, check email on their phones, or watch TV, all while exercising at a slow pace. But that doesn’t make sense, does it? Do they really expect to get results?

I’ve spent years working in gyms and I’ve never known anyone to lose weight that way. Doing slow cardio and reading People magazine is a big waste of time.

This got me thinking about all of the crazy cardio habits I’ve noticed in the gym over the years. It makes for quite a funny list. And to keep you from falling into the same cardio traps, I asked Certified Turbulence Trainer Daniel Woodrum to help me put together with the following “9 signs that you are doing too much cardio.”

#1. You have to spend 5 minutes before your workout flipping through all the magazines in the gym to find one you haven’t read before.

The gym should be your getaway from the outside world. That means taking a break from social media, magazines and the latest gossip in Hollywood. If you can exercise and read at the same time, you’re wasting your time. This does NOT work for weight loss or getting fit. Get off the cardio machines and switch to short, burst metabolic training instead. You’ll finish your workout in half the time…so you can go home and read in a comfortable chair.

#2. You know the other cardio addicts better than you know your own friends.

If you’re in the Cardio Confessional Club, it’s time to lose your membership. Doing cardio doesn’t work…just look at all the other people in your cardio club. Chances are they haven’t lost a single pound in the last year. It’s time to get a new group of workout buddies. Look over in the strength training area or bootcamp class and you’ll see people that are actually getting results.

#3. You know exactly how many calories you burn per minute on every machine in the gym. (And you use that information to justify eating an extra slice of pizza or big chocolate dessert.)

It’s comical to hear people brag about how many calories they burned doing cardio. It’s all a big lie. Research published in Shape magazine found that cardio machines can overestimate the number calories burned by a whopping 42%. Since an average cardio session for most women burns 300 calories (according to the machine), the real number is much closer to 200 calories.

Worse, most women burn close to 50 calories just sitting in a chair for the same amount of time it takes to get to the gym and do 30 minutes of cardio. That’s why slow cardio is a big fat JOKE when it comes to burning calories. That’s why you are much better off doing high intensity bodyweight exercises, even if those bodyweight workouts take just 4 to 10-minutes.

#4. You dread your cardio workouts more than a trip to the dentist.

Going to the dentist is no fun. There’s nothing more dreadful than walking into the office and hearing drilling going on in the background. Not to mention having the hygienist keep repeating, “Open your mouth up wider!” If that’s how you feel each time you do cardio, you’ve gone way too far. Exercise should be fun. You should look forward to your short workouts rather than dreading the cardio machine more than the dentist chair.

#5. The only thing you lose with cardio is precious time – not belly fat.

Your life is too busy to waste a minute. But that’s all cardio does. Long bouts on the elliptical machine are a waste of your life. Here’s proof. A study in the journal Obesity found that when men and women did 6 hours of cardio per week for an entire year that they only lost 5-6 pounds. That’s 50 hours of cardio to lose one pound of weight! What a rip-off and waste of time. Don’t waste your life on the cardio confessional!

#6. You do cardio so you can watch your favorite television shows.

I once watched a woman go berserk and cancel her gym membership because the televisions were no longer working. How sad. If you coordinate your cardio session around your favorite television show, you need to STOP.

Switch to my short, burst bodyweight workouts that you can do at home. Get them done in under 10 minutes and then enjoy your favorite shows while sitting comfortably on your couch — while burning calories thanks to the increase in your metabolism from a workout that works!

#7. Cardio is causing you overuse injuries from doing the same activity over and over again every day.

Physical therapists love runners and cardio addicts. They are the best clients because they all have overuse injuries. Runners and spin cycle addicts are the best though, because they refuse to stop exercising even when injured.

If that sounds like you, then you need a reality check. Doing the same movement over and over again wears out your joints and tears up your muscles. That’s not the way your body is designed to work. And cardio addicts often let one nagging injury lead to another because they try to exercise through the pain.

#8. Your co-worker can exercise, shower, and get back to the office before you’re even halfway done with your cardio workout.

Let’s say you and a co-worker head to the gym at the same time during lunch break. Your co-worker does a short, burst full body routine in 15 minutes. Meanwhile you take 10 minutes to find a television show, program your cardio machine, and find a good article in your magazine. You finally start to get a little bit of a sweat after 25 minutes.

You look to see how your co-worker is doing, and you can’t believe it. They’re already heading back to work! Not only did they exercise in half the time, but they also will be burning calories the rest of the day because of the post-workout calorie afterburn that you can get from a short, burst total body session. Sadly the same can’t be said for your cardio workout.

That’s why they are getting results and you’re stuck on the weight loss plateau treadmill. If this is happening to you, it’s time for you to kick cardio to the curb.

#9. You’ve got your favorite treadmill at the gym and you’ll wait 30 minutes until it’s available. (And you even named it, Teddy the Tready.)

It’s Monday evening and the gym is packed. You walk over to the busy “Cardio Theater” (what a joke!) and notice several treadmills vacant. You’re upset though. The available treadmills are not right in front of your favorite view. So you wait. And wait. And wait. Finally 30 minutes later your favorite treadmill is free. You hop on the treadmill and leave the gym nearly 90 minutes later, completely ruining your evening.

Don’t you see how cardio is robbing you of a real life? It’s not giving you results, it’s leaving you injured, and it’s a poor substitute for spending time with your family and on activities that really matter in life.

Fortunately there is a better way to lose weight and get fit. You only need a few minutes per day.

Here’s how you can exercise in just 10 minutes and destroy belly fat fast.

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Just say NO to cardio!